This game represents why this league is the best in the world. Parity. On paper this is a mismatch. Near bottom table Orlando comes into Red Bull Arena against tied for second on the table Gotham FC. Good teams win at home. Good teams beat teams they are supposed to beat. Gotham should beat Orlando on paper.
But any team in this league can compete. Orlando has just taken down top team San Diego 3-1 away. Then beat perennial underachiever Racing Louisville 1-0 at home. Then gave up 4 goals from outside the box against 1st place Washington, away. Then to come into RBA and get a 0-0 draw against a top 4 team in Gotham, away. It's just all over the place. It's chaos. It's very on brand for this league.
Here are three quick takeaways:
Gotham needs another hero:
Lynn Williams has been a force this season. Scoring in 6 of 9 games so far. However, the next top scorer is Midge Purce. Sitting on two goals. Both from the spot. The only other goal scorer this season is rookie Nighswonger. Lynn will most likely be away with the national team come summer. It's still a mystery who is going to the one to put the ball in the back of the net.
Gotham's defense has been stellar this season. 4 clean sheets in 9 matches. Only giving up 2 goals, twice. Led by Allie Krieger and Kristen Edmonds and aided by a returning Allie Long and national teamer Kelly O'hara. This squad is tops in clean sheets and 2nd in goals conceded per match. This squad is also 3rd in successful tackles per match.
Gotham defends from the front. With forwards regularly near double digits in recoveries.
She's a spider in the midfield
This was how Long was described by the interim KC coach. And it's a great description. She weaves a web and suffocates those who enter it. She slipped in and out of pressure with ease. Changing the point of attack and controlling the tempo of the match. Allie Long is as good as she's ever been. Having returned after a year away having twins. It's as if she hasn't lost a step. She completed 100 percent of her passes against Orlando. Long and short.
Vlatko has kept an eye on Long in the past. With the defensive midfield position in flux at the national team level. Although a long shot (pun intended) there can be a case made for her.
New podcast out Thursday as always. Our latest: Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: EP 70 NJ/NY 2-1 CHGO Kelly Ann Livingstone #oncegotham https://anchor.fm/soccerovergotham/episodes/EP-70-NJNY-2-1-CHGO-Kelly-Ann-Livingstone-oncegotham-e23s4lt